The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday revoked the charges under the National Security Act against Gorakhpur doctor Kafeel Khan, and asked the state government to release him immediately, reported Live Law. Khan has been in custody since January 29 for making allegedly inflammatory remarks during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act at the Aligarh Muslim University in December.
The order came after the doctor’s mother, Nuzhat Parween, filed a habeas corpus plea, saying her son was detained illegally. The division bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh passed the order.
The first information report, filed on December 13, said that Khan had attempted to vitiate the peaceful ambiance at the university and disturb communal harmony.
“The extension of the period of detention of detenue Dr Kafeel Khan is also declared illegal,” the order said, according to Bar and Bench. “A writ in the nature of habeas corpus is hereby issued to release Dr Kafeel Khan, the detenue from State custody forthwith.”
The High Court also found prima facie that Khan’s speech “does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence”.
On August 19, the Allahabad High Court had adjourned hearing till August 24 on a plea challenging Khan’s detention.
Khan was granted bail earlier on February 10, but was not released from Mathura jail. Instead, the NSA was invoked against him three days later and his detention was extended. The plea filed by the Gorakhpur doctor’s mother said his detention was “illegal”. Khan’s detention was also earlier extended by three months till November 13.
On August 12, the Supreme Court asked the Allahabad High Court to decide on a petition related to Khan’s release within 15 days.
Khan was a paediatrician at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur, when 63 children died in 2017 due to lack of oxygen. He was suspended from his post and jailed for nine months after a criminal case of medical negligence, corruption and dereliction of duty was filed against him. But an Uttar Pradesh government inquiry last year cleared him of all charges and instead lauded his actions to save lives during the crisis.